“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

I Live For The 99

Ninety-nine percent of the time life on the farm is idyllic.

The animals are happy, peaceful, healthy...
and life hums along in its rhythmic ebb and flow.

But then there is that one percent...
when injury or illness befalls us...
making the day hard...
chores are done with the yolk of a heavy weight around our necks.

Yesterday morning I stopped by the sheep yard as I do each morning
to open the gates for the sheep to head into the front pasture.
I opened the gates and headed to the barn.
Moments later I heard such of ruckus of "Baaaaa-ing" that I thought
it prudent to go check on the girls.

I found only Gracie in the sheep yard under the trees.
Her daughters had headed out to the front pasture but were calling
and calling for Grace to join them.

I called Grace...
but she did not look at me.
Normally she comes to me when I call.
This time it was quite different.
She was leaning between two tree trunks...
and hardly noticed my presence.
Her mid section looked a little bloated.

I called our local farm vet and they suggested that I give her some mineral oil
just in case she had the "bloat" from some obstruction...
they also said that a vet would be out to see Grace that morning.

I gave her the mineral oil...

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Calendars Are Important!

Yesterday taught me that I really have to check my calendar each morning
when I awaken!
I bounded out of bed early yesterday ready to get started on a long chore list.

The previous day's rain put us a day behind, and we had catching-up to do.

Morning chores were completed.

Everyone went out to graze in the pasture...

and I headed home to hop in the shower.
As I was getting dressed, the dogs started barking as if someone was at the door.
I looked at my watch and for some reason suddenly remembered that we had 
a farrier appointment at 8 AM... in just ten minutes.
Perhaps the farrier had come early and was at the door.
I checked outside... no one was in the driveway.
Perhaps he had gone.

I combed my wet hair, hopped in the gator and headed out to the barn.
Jack was busy cooking breakfast for us... and I yelled as I flew out the door,
"I forgot I have a farrier appointment today!"
(there may have been a couple expletives said along with this statement...
as I hate forgetting appointments!)

I arrived at the barn and found... no farrier.
The big problem was, however, 
all of the horses and donkeys were out in the pastures grazing.
Catching them to bring them in this early would be difficult.
After all,...

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Bad Hair Days

Yesterday was a "bad hair" sort of day for everyone here on the farm.

Clouds, cool temperatures and steady rain kept some indoors all day.

Some sought shelter in the gator.

The more adventurous braved the precipitation and went about 
their days as usual.

After all, if they don't venture out to eat...
they might go hungry.

There are always rewards for coming outside.

Room service was not an option.
Plenty of grass is available to those with coats that are impervious to rain!

And then there are the chickens...

who have plenty of food inside,
but who prefer to be outside running around in the rain.

It has been the rainiest summer ever here on the farm.
It's great not having to water.
Now we just need a little sunshine to ripen the rest of the (hundreds of) tomatoes.
I will roast and freeze many of them for later use.

I am happy to say that we now have a temporary phone line on the ground
between the pole in the front pasture and the house.
Hopefully it will be buried underground soon.
Now we can upgrade our service to a faster internet speed.
I am so happy!

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We've Got A Lot Of Catching-Up To Do!

We're back!!!
It had been several years since my last trip to the ocean,
and I had almost forgotten how I love the shore.

There is just something about the rhythmic pounding of the waves,
and the call of the gull that soothes the soul.

I spent four days in the company of lovely women and just allowed my 
mind and soul to be quiet (when we weren't having a crazy good time!)
And while we are on the subject of crazy....
check out this horseshoe crab that washed up on the shore...

How about all those hitch-hiking shell-fish on it's torso!!
That's a crab with a whole lot of "bling!"

The wonderful thing about vacations is...
no matter how much fun they are...
it is always so good to return home to all that I love.

 this photo... credit to my neighbor Scott!
And it's a good thing I am here, because the garden is practically bursting at the seams!
Here is yesterday's tomato haul...

as well as peppers, cukes, and eggplants.
Blackberries are ripening and are oh, so sweet and juicy...
thanks to an abundance of rain.

We started harvesting our leeks yesterday...

cleaned and sliced them....

and made a leek and mushroom tart.

Remember the vines growing on the manure pile?
One pile is covered in tomatoes, and...

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Summer Fun

Look who's been hiding out deep in the recesses of the
Echinacea flower box next to the greenhouse.

Apparently this young lady has decided that she likes

nesting amidst beautiful blossoms.

It's obvious that this is not her first or second time!

It would be fun to let her hatch out a brood...
but, oh my, what would we do with a whole flock of turkeys?
So... I think we will remove these eggs from time to time.
Sorry, Ethel!

We had special farm visitors on Friday... the whole way from Delaware!

Donna, Katelyn, and Sandy drove four hours to see the farm and to meet the critters!
The critters were quite happy as their visitors brought Ritz crackers with them.
We had a lovely visit (after establishing that neither they nor I were axe murderers!)
It is kind of funny to think that we made these plans never having set eyes on each other before.
It just goes to show you... we have soul "mates" all over the world... and it's nice to take a chance
and meet some once in a while!
Thanks for the visit, girls....and Ginger and MaryAnn thank you for the Ritz!!

On the subject of snacks...
Ginger and MaryAnn make it their business to inspect the sheep yard every morning

looking for apples or pears that have dropped...

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Turning Our Faces To The Sun

we are humbled by your outpouring of love and support over the loss of Gracie.
It is so true...
when we love and care for an animal it is with the knowledge that someday
we will have to let them go... to say goodbye.
What keeps us going is a little Hope...

A little Faith...

and a whole lot of love!

After every dark and stormy time,
 the sun comes out again and reminds us of all that is good in life.

So, we turn our faces to the sun and allow it to fill our souls with warmth.
And we put one foot in front of the other and march on.

There is much work to be done in this life...
and with it comes sadness that is unavoidable.
But the happiness is ours to grab and to multiply and to share.
It is up to us to make the happy far outweigh the sad!

And so, the sun rose yesterday.
We buried our precious Grace.
And we carried on... caring for all of the wonderful souls that still fill our world.

Hope and Faith are missing their Mama,
and spend a lot of their time calling for her.

It is sad, but with time, they will recover.
MaryAnn and Ginger seem to understand that something is wrong,

so they are staying very close to the twins.
The pigs have a whole lot of love to give!

I finished planting my new...

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Three and a Big Surprise

Lily loves our mail lady.
Probably because every time she comes up the hill, she has a package for Lily.

This time it was from one of my dearest friends in another state.....

There were two sweet cards inside~ one for Lily, and another one for... Lily's Birthday!!

Yes, you heard me~ its all yours.

The box was pre-inspected.

Each gift and the adorable wrapping paper were also pre-inspected. *Sigh*

Apparently this one met approval even before it was unwrapped. :)



Treats!!! *YUMMY*

I told her to smile for the camera, Angie~ this is what I got. 

And that smile says "Thank you."  

So, how did she spend her 3rd Birthday?

Uh, lets just say it was.... uneventful.  ;)

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Friday Farm Fotos: Bad Girl

It was getting dark and someone was missing; one large red hen with a pair of big yellow feet and an attitude to match. I looked up and down and in every nook and cranny with my flashlight there was no sign of her. The only clue was a red tail feather I found in the grass near the barn, and that is never a good sign. Most of the time if there has been a predator attack there is more than one feather on the ground, so that made me think she could still be out there somewhere, but as darkness fell and my batteries started getting weak, hope of finding her alive faded with my flashlight. 

I was sad.... I never like to lose any of my birds.....

Morning came. It was unusually foggy.... I didn't think it would ever get daylight. I had just poured a cup of coffee and was staring out the kitchen window, when....

I saw her.

Meandering across the back yard, looking over her shoulder as if she was hoping nobody would see her sneaking back to the chicken coop before dawn. My heart was happy!
But then, I chuckled...
At the thought that her hiney was safe but her reputation was ruined.... :)

Happy Friday!

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Friday Farm Fotos: Random Birds

Lily enjoys the autumn sunshine.

Well, the hummingbirds have finally moved on... *sniff*... the last time I saw one was on Tuesday, and I'm pretty sure the cool nights this week have alerted them to the fact that it is time to go south. I will leave the feeders up for a couple more weeks in case some more pass through and need a drink. I'll miss them and their chatty little squeaks, but I'll still have lots of company at the seed and suet feeders to make me smile. Here are some of the different birds that visit on regular basis and will continue to do so through the winter.

Next to the hummers, I have to say that the nuthatch is near the top of my list of favorite birds. 
Their acrobatic moves amaze me, and I love their quirky little raspy call.

And of course, bluebirds always make me smile.....

Blue Jays are noisy birds, but I like having them around. 
They are beneficial when you have chickens in that they will alert you when danger is around, such as a hawk or a cat.

We have an abundance of male and female red birds (cardinals) that feed every morning at the sunflower feeders.

Doves are also plentiful, and since they are too big to perch on the feeders I scatter a little bit of seed...

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Monday's Moments

Today's post is a random collection of moments from yesterday...
to which there is no rhyme or reason...
just moments that I wanted to share with you.

This made me smile....

to see the donkeys, pigs and sheep all quietly munching away...
dew on the ground in the early morning light...
just a peaceful moment witnessed.
This makes me smile... it doesn't take much!

This made me laugh...

The runner ducks are spending more and more time outside the barn.

They are getting just a little less nervous, 
but still....way more nervous than any other critters on the farm.

Which is why I have named them The Nervous Nellies...
Nellie, Nelly, and Knelly!

They are each laying an egg a day... for a daily total of two mint green eggs and one linen-white egg.
They are much more reliable layers than the chickens.

This made me happy...

My small fairy garden has filled in nicely...
and makes me wish I were fairy sized so that I could sit in the shade on that bench and read a book!

This made me sad...

Poor Sammie. 
He had a Vet appointment yesterday and was so upset
that he peed all over the vet office, even while he was laying down being examined.
He tried to bite.
He shook like a leaf... terrified.
It was so bad that he...

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Sunday Evening

It's Sunday evening... the end of a long and busy weekend.
I am sitting outside the barn with my friends...

just enjoying the end of another beautiful weekend.
For some reason, I just love Sunday evenings.
I suppose it's because it wraps up the week...and we usually spend it peacefully
here with our critters. 
A new week awaits us... filled with possibilities.
For now, though, we just drink in all of the beauty and wonder that surrounds us.

I sit on the ground, watching the horses eat their supper.
The only sounds I hear are the munching of hay and the birdsongs.

It was a good weekend...the perfect mix of work and play.
Sunday evenings, though, are a time to appreciate the fruits of our labor.
 Weeks ago, I planted this small flower garden outside of the vegetable garden
with summer bulbs.

They are all up and beginning to bloom.

Every day I find a surprise in this garden,
as I had no idea what any of the bulbs would look like once grown.

There are dahlias...


and so much more...

In another week it should be spectacular!

Yesterday, while weeding, I found my first ripe red tomato...

and several ripe yellow grape tomatoes.

Gardening is one of those hobbies that rewards you many times over

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Menáge á Baaaa

This was the scene yesterday morning in the sheep yard...

Now, before you call the ASPCA or PETA,
you really have to see the whole picture!

Yesterday was vaccination day.
The horses, donkeys, pigs, sheep and dogs were all on the docket for injections.

Sammie:  "Do I have to Mom?"

"Yes, Sammie... it's that time again, and especially with your upcoming surgery...
you have to be up to date on all of your immunizations."

Bobby:  "What!  No cats?  Oh thank goodness!"

The horses were good sports... 
they hardly looked up from their eating while getting their vaccines.

Of course, my pockets were full of treats,
so everyone wanted in on the action!

The donkeys were half good.
Daphne took it in stride,

but Chloe put her foot down.
It took three of us to finish the task!

The sheep were nonchalant about the injections...
they were busy eating Ritz.
Catching them was the hard part.
We corralled Gracie and Hope in a corner of their lot and snuck in their injections while they ate.
They barely noticed.
Of course there is always one in the group who declines the invitation.
That would be Faith.
Luckily, Jack caught her and held her still while Dr. Becky gave her the injections.
Once finished, she happily pranced off...

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No Potato Famine Here!

Yesterday morning after morning chores were complete,
I decided to stop by the garden to pick some produce.

I had a little extra time on my hands and started weeding the potato box...
and realized that the potatoes were ready for digging.

So, Hubbs grabbed a shovel and we started to dig...

By the time we were done we had harvested about 30 pounds of potatoes.

Amazingly... all of these potatoes came from just two seed potatoes...
a big reward from a small investment!

They are now drying in a cool, dark part of the barn.

You might remember me talking about the milkweed that I left growing in the garden
in front of our house.
Well, I was rewarded for the decision to let it grow!
A beautiful Monarch happened to stop by and eat...

Hopefully we will have eggs laid somewhere on the plants...
I'll keep you updated if I see any signs of reproduction.

Well, we are again at the end of another week.
The weekend is to be rainy... 
so it looks like we got through yet another week without having to water!
Tyler will be spending today and tomorrow here at the farm...
so our days will be filled with adventure.

Hope your weekend is filled with adventure as well!!
Hugs from the farm (because we need more hugs in this...

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Sleep... Wake Up... Repeat

It's 8 PM (last night) and I am out tucking in all of our friends.
First stop is the pig yard... it's empty... so everyone must be out in the pasture.
I call them... high voice, rapid..."Pig, Pig, Pig!"

And they come running.

Then I call the sheep... "Sheepies!" (repeat a couple times...)
and the sheep head in as well.

Everyone is rewarded with a cracker...

or two...

I stop by the chicken yards, where everyone (except the new gals) is roosting...

I usher the new girls into their house (takes two tries) and close the door for the night.

Everyone's water is checked (I'll change them in the morning.)
Turkeys are walked back down to the barn...

and into their pen for the night.

Fly masks are removed.

Ollie wants you to see his new fly mask (everyone got new ones this summer)...

Hay is delivered...

Manure is scooped...

Pigs are fed...

The runner ducks are tucked in their stall for the night, with clean water and food.

And the day is done.
It was a busy one... I repainted my bedroom walls
(luckily two are outside walls and are log...the other two were green and I was tired of it...
now they are cream...much brighter!)

Now it is time to sleep....
wake up... repeat!

I am always content at the end of tuck-in...

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Love From This Tiny Speck

It's morning.
The sun is up.
It's cool and breezy and dry... a perfect morning.

I'm feeding animals, filling waterers, and cleaning up the night's accumulation of manure.

Everyone in my world is happy right now...
not a care in the world...

I'm as happy as the critters...
content in my life in this little tiny corner of the world.

And I'm thinking....
thinking about the fact that I am no more than a speck.
I am a tiny speck in the acreage of the farm...

which is a tiny speck on the face of this earth...

which is a tiny speck in our galaxy...

which is a tiny speck in our universe...
which just might be a tiny speck in what they think is a multiverse.

Feeling small?

The thing is... we are all a small piece of something so much bigger than ourselves.
So, if you feel tiny or inconsequential...
It takes every single speck to make the whole complete!

And the glue that holds the tiny specks together is love.
Love is the most important force in existence.
The true measure of a person's life is the love they give to others.

So, today, from my tiny speck of this earth I am sending out great big hugs of love!
Will you join me?
Together we have the power to change the world!
And goodness knows......

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Moving Day And Soggy Play

Yesterday was moving day for this year's full grown chicks.

This past weekend's storms brought over 3 inches of rain,
a bit of flooding, and much cooler weather.
Cooler weather would make the move easier for us
and easier for the hens, who will be confined to their yard for the rest of the week.

The first chore was to give the henhouse, into which the young hens would be moving, 
a good cleaning.
We have learned that it's best to wear masks for this dusty task.

Next we loaded up the hens, one by one...

and drove them to their new yard.

With a little encouragement, they moved into their new house

and said hello to their new friends...

We will keep these girls and their older companions closed within their yard 
until the end of the week...
in an effort to teach them where their home is...
and to get them used to roosting in a new house.

Bedtime close-up was a little challenging last evening,
as the new gals were reluctant to go back into their house.
Eventually, everyone was herded into safety and bid "goodnight".


Three inches of rain made the farm rather soggy yesterday morning.
As you can see... somebody likes a soggy yard...

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Assistant Gardeners And A Brief Respite

With all of the gardens here on the farm...
it's nice to have help from time to time.
It seems the birds are always happy to help...
especially when it comes to planting sunflowers.

This particular blossom is growing out of a pot of black and salmon petunias
that I planted on my front porch.

Originally there were just these...

and these...

in the pot.  However, a few weeks ago I noticed a volunteer growing up tall
from the blossoms.

I knew it was a sunflower and decided to just let it grow where it was.

It sort of represents my approach to gardening these days.
I no longer strive for order and symmetry...
but instead just enjoy the journey on which Mother Nature leads me.
Things no longer need to be the kind of perfect that I sought in my younger years.
Now, the perfection lies in the essence of the being... be it plant or animal.

You might notice when you look at the front of our house that we once again have 
quite a prolific patch of milkweed growing in the garden.
Technically a weed, yes, but food and shelter for traveling Monarch butterflies.
And so, once again, I don't have the heart to pull it.
It is perfect right where it is and serves an important purpose.
Who am I to pass judgement on...

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Misty Morning

Our current heat wave has been giving us misty, moist mornings.

We've had our share of thunderstorms... late afternoon dark clouds gather...
giving us enough rain so that watering has not been a necessity.

Mornings are my favorite time...
and truly the only time that is comfortable for being outside.

The animals seem happiest in the early morning hours

 as they contentedly graze.

By mid morning, everyone is ready to retreat to the shade.
I walk the Littles down from the upper pastures, Hubbs... the ponies.
As for Moonbeam... he takes himself back to the barn every morning, 
hooves thundering across the field.  
I love that sound!

Yesterday morning, the runner ducks went on quite a walkabout.

They nonchalantly walked down the lane almost to the sheep...
much further than they had ever gone before!

At some point they must have realized how far they had gone, 
and headed straight back for the barn...

By the time they made it to the barn they were running....and ran straight through their pool...
which, by the way, they had not ventured into before.

Later in the day, however, it was obvious that they had again been in the pool.

I tried my hardest to get a photo of them swimming...
resorting to the...

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This Was Wednesday...

From the bottom of our hearts,
we thank you all for chiming in regarding Sammie's torn cruciate.
Thanks for the recommendation regarding Previcox, also... we will try that as well.
Making decisions for our pets is difficult in that 
they unfortunately don't have a voice.... we have to be their voice.
Hearing your experiences with the same issues helped assure us that we are
making the right choice for Sammie.
Enough said.
(I'll let you know how it goes in the coming weeks!)

I did something yesterday that I have not done in years:
I played 9 holes of golf with Hubbs and some dear friends.
As expected, without practice, I mostly stank.
However, I did have a few nice shots.
I have found that even with practice, though, I mostly stink... with a few good shots.
That might just be the way that game goes... at least for the majority of us.
Or we could just blame it on the heat!

As for the farm, we are spending most of our chore time filling water containers...

refilling with cool water to help combat the heat.

It's no surprise that the pigs are spending a good deal of time in their pool.

Surf's up!

It's also no surprise that the runner ducks have not touched their pool yet.
Too scary!

We are in that time...

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Sammie's Saga And More

We started yesterday thinking that the day would end
 with Sammy having surgery.
He did not.
After several veterinary consultations with several vet/surgeons, X-rays, and exams,
we have decided to forgo having his cruciate ligament fixed.
This was not an easy decision, however we have peace with it.

Sammie is an unusual dog.
He does not like to be messed with... even if it is to help him.
He totally falls apart emotionally... stops eating and drinking, etc.
He has to be totally sedated in order to have his nails cut.
He hates to be confined in any manner, 
(he destroyed a metal crate when he was younger).
He is old and arthritic and has slowed down considerably this past year.

The surgery is a big deal with a very long recovery.
Just the two weeks of wearing a cone around his neck would be impossible for him.
He would be the dog who destroyed his cone...
and then destroyed his surgery.

After his surgery, his leg would not feel normal to him,
and so we fear he would refuse to walk on it anyways.
The Vets have assured us that he is not in pain... 
his leg just feels unstable when he puts weight on it.
They have also assured us that walking on three legs will not cause the other leg to break down.


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Photographic Cooperation Needed!

You may have noticed that most of our farm friends are quite photogenic...
and even better, don't seem to mind posing for frequent portraits.

All, that is, except for the daffy Runner Ducks...
whose goal in life is to be anything less than cooperative...
in any given matter!
Most of all... photographs!!

We finally devised a way to get them to leave the safety of their stall,
at least for short periods of time.
We moved their food and water out to the front of the barn.
Now they must walk the eight feet from their stall in order to eat.

Judging from the condition of their water,
they do this quite frequently...
just not when anyone is close enough to document it.

I tried, in vain, every possible hiding place in order to photograph them out of their stall.
It was an hour long exercise in futility.
How they could have known I was there as I stealthily (and silently)
moved from location to location,
I'll never know.
I guess they can just sense my presence.

As soon as I walked over to the garden and was photographing the happenings there,

those daffy ducks emerged from their stall and began munching food.
Too far for me to focus through the garden fence,
I at least caught their ghostly figures in this...

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On Any Given Day

I could start just about every post by saying...
"Life on the farm is never boring...."

it never is!

On the quieter days, Mother Nature offers up her magical displays...

with colors as brilliant as can be!

And then of course there are the days when any number of unforeseen
things might happen....

especially with a menagerie such as ours!

Here is the story of one such day:

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A Long Holiday Weekend

What a busy holiday weekend it was here on the farm.
We had a big Independence Day celebration on Saturday in the picnic pavilion.

For several days last week, I baked, cooked and prepped food.

We mowed and trimmed and decorated the pavilion 

in preparation for our four-generation friends and family celebration.

It was our first make-your-own pizza party of the season...

with smoked chickens, Greek tortellini salad, broccoli salad, black bean taco salad, three bean salad, deviled eggs, and fruit and veggie trays as well.
And assortment of desserts topped of the meal.
As did the 45 minute torrential shower!

I think Tyler's best part of the day was playing in the shower...

Mackenzie made lots of new friends...

 and showed off her shuffleboard skills...

We discovered through bubble play that she prefers her friends to be very clean!

She washed every exposed inch with bubbles.
If you have little ones... homemade bubbles are the best!
I use:
6 cups water
1 cup Dawn dishwashing liquid
¼ cup corn syrup
2 tbs. glycerine

This makes huge, long-lasting bubbles... and it helps to have a big bubble wand.

Before Sunday morning's sun rose on the farm, we were pretty sure we were going to have
another new member of...

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A Special Firecracker for the Fourth

Happy Fourth of July, friends!
I am just stopping in for a quick visit.

You see, we have had this little one with us here at the farm since Saturday.

She now has a new baby brother born Sunday evening.
Meet Easton Frederick,
7 lbs.  15 oz.

He has ten precious fingers and ten precious toes...
and everything is exactly where it is supposed to be!
Mama and Daddy and baby are healthy, and happy to be on this side of the delivery.
I am so excited that we have another little pirate to add to our merry band.

Miss Mackenzie is just a little confused by all of this at the present time.
It won't be long, though, until she understands how important a big sister can be!

We will be back tomorrow with more farm tales to share.
For now, though, we are going to just enjoy our new little firecracker!
Happy Independence Day, dear friends!

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Tucking In The Sheep and Pigs

Every evening before sundown,
I call the sheep and the pigs in from the pasture.

They love to graze in the evening, when the temperature has dropped and the sun 
is no longer shining in the pasture.

I suppose I could let them out grazing all night,
but I feel like they are safer in their yards for the night...
and there is plenty of grazing available to them in their yards as well.

Sheep are voracious grazers and excellent lawnmowers...

Come with me...and we will bring them in....

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How To Live An Extraordinary Life

I have lived an extraordinary life.
But let me say this... it would have been extraordinary no matter what my circumstances,
because I chose for it to be so.

Now, you might say..."Well that's easy to say when you live in such a beautiful place!"
And yes, that's true.
But this place has not always looked like this.
Yes it is beautiful, green countryside... but it took a long time to get it to where it is now...
lots of time and lots of effort... hard work.
And it takes hard work to keep it that way.
Every single day... work.

This kind of hard work is not for everyone.
For me, however, it is the key to a life of satisfaction.
I am happy to be exhausted at the end of every day...
it's the evidence of a day well spent.
For me.

As for life being extraordinary...
I choose to see it this way.
I am grateful each morning when I open my eyes to another sunrise...
to the sound of birds singing...
to a breeze tickling the hairs on my arms...
to the taste of a ripe berry...
to the smell of a blossom.

All of these things are extraordinary.
It's the little things that make life great.

Yes, we all suffer pitfalls.
We are not strangers to illness, to sadness, to worries, to aging, and ultimately to death.

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Welcome to the Neighborhood

Yesterday afternoon, as I was driving down our road,
I saw this out of the corner of my eye.

I continued home and grabbed my camera and returned for a closer look.

It seems we have a new neighbor to welcome to the neighborhood!
Welcome little one... you look so tired.
It's an exhausting trip you just made to enter this world.

It's so good that your Mama is standing watch over you as you rest.

There is nothing like a newborn...no matter what the species!
Precious... full of so much potential!
A whole new world awaits you, little one!

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Peaceful Pond Life

The sun is up, but hidden by the hill that rises from across the road.
The air is cool and filled with the song of the wood thrush.
We drive the gator down the long driveway as several bunnies dart
and run... startled by the sudden presence of our dogs.

It's morning and we are headed out to attend to the first chores of the day.
We know not what awaits us as we head out to find our farm friends.
There are surprises each and every day...
wonders and mysteries of nature that delight us and inspire us as we work.

Our first stop each morning is the pond.
Here we find our Muscovy ducks awaiting our arrival on top of the duck hut.

They roost here each night,
then hop off in the morning to enjoy the breakfast we bring them.

On this particular morning, they nibble on the rooftop moss
before hopping down for their food.

After breakfast, they find their way to the water
and begin the process of bathing and preening.

We were surprised to see them diving under the water,
only to re-surface about 30 feet from where they submerged.

I'm not sure what they are doing under water,
but when they emerge, they shake themselves dry,
then stretch out of the water, flapping their wings vigorously.

They meet each new day...

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Compost Tomatoes

For those of you suffering in the heat...
you have my sympathy.
Happily, we have avoided extreme heat as of yet.
But, summer is not over.

The heat is hard on the animals as they have no way to escape it.
We try our best to keep them comfortable, but there is only so much we can do.
So, I am keeping my fingers crossed that this wonderful summer weather
that we have experienced thus far will continue.
The garden has flourished with the perfect sunshine/rain balance...

Green Echinacea, my favorite!
More heat is needed, however, to ripen all of our tomatoes.
We have lots on the vine, but none are even thinking about turning red.

Curiously, two of our compost piles have their own gardens growing.
These two piles have been ready for spreading on the hay field, 
but I am waiting to see what grows from these piles.

On one there are about 50 tomato plants...

and at the base of the other are several pumpkin vines.

These piles are many months old and produce no more heat.
They have essentially turned into soil.
My question is this...
Would you eat tomatoes that were grown on the top of an old compost pile?

If you have a few extra minutes and would like to see the garden...
here is an updated tour:

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